The courts in New Jersey often order one parent to pay child support to the other. Both parents are required to comply with the terms of a child support court order. If they fail to comply with these terms, they could face serious legal consequences. But, what happens when a parent cannot afford to make child support payments any longer? Here’s what you should do:
Modification of the Child Support Order
Both parents can ask the court to modify the initial child support order. This means parents who are required to pay child support can ask the court to lower their child support payments to make them more affordable. However, the court will not agree to modify the child support order unless the judge believes the change is warranted.
“Changed Circumstances” in Child Support Modification Cases
If you can longer afford to make child support payments, it is your responsibility to prove that circumstances in your life have changed since the initial court order was issued. The change in circumstances must not be temporary, otherwise the judge will rule against a modification. The change must also not have been expected or purposely caused by the parent. Finally, the parent requesting the modification must show that the change in circumstances affects their ability to make the existing child support payments.
For example, let’s say the initial court order was issued while you were making $100,000 per year. Several years later, these payments are no longer affordable because you lost your job and are having trouble finding other employment. Losing a job is a significant change in circumstances that greatly affects a parent’s ability to make payments. Therefore, the judge will most likely grant the request to modify the initial child support order.
A Note Regarding Child Support Modifications
It is important to note that a parent does not have the right to simply stop making payments if their financial situation has changed. Parents that are ordered to pay child support are still required to make these payments unless a court says otherwise. If you are requesting a modification, the terms of the initial agreement must still be followed until a judge has granted your request to modify this agreement.
Do you need to modify a child support agreement? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. We will present a convincing case that clearly shows that a change in circumstances has left you unable to make child support payments. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.